The Role Of The Uvula
Uvula: The roof of the mouth is composed of two main sections, the hard palate at the front and the soft palate at the back. The uvula can be seen at the back of the throat, hanging from the middle of the soft palate. The uvula is the teardrop-shaped piece of soft tissue that hangs down the back of your throat. It’s made from connective tissue, saliva-producing glands, and some muscle tissue.
When you eat, your soft palate and uvula prevent foods and liquids from going up your nose. Your soft palate is the smoother, muscular part of the roof of your mouth.
Inflammation is the body’s automatic response to an injury, allergic reaction, or illness. Inflammation may also include redness, irritation, itching, swelling, or burning.
If the immune system is not able to remove a harmful organism like a virus or bacterium, the uvula can become infected.
With uvulitis, a person may feel as if something is stuck in the back of their throat as well as experience difficulty swallowing. In some cases, the sound of the voice may also be affected.
Other symptoms include:
- problems breathing
- sore throat
- swollen tonsils
- excessive saliva
- nasal regurgitation
- trouble or painful swallowing
- Stuffy nose
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Body aches
Your throat may also be sore and red. See your doctor if you have a sore throat that lasts longer than a week.
To get rid of the swelling from an infection, you need to treat what’s causing it. A doctor can tell you whether it’s due to a virus or bacteria. Most infections caused by a virus don’t have a treatment. You just wait for them to clear up. If the problem is caused by a bacteria, your doctor may suggest antibiotics to treat it.
Your uvula is the fleshy piece of tissue hanging down over your tongue toward the back of your mouth. It’s part of the soft palate. The soft palate helps close your nasal passages when you swallow. The uvula helps push food toward your throat.
Uvulitis is inflammation, including swelling, of the uvula. It can be irritating, but it’s usually temporary. However, if swelling of the uvula is severe, it can interfere with your ability to swallow. It’s not common, but a swollen uvula can restrict your breathing.
There are many causes of uvulitis. Sometimes uvulitis can be resolved with a simple home remedy. Sometimes medical treatment is necessary.
If you have uvulitis, your uvula will appear red, puffy, and larger than normal. Uvulitis may also be associated with:
- an itchy, burning, or sore throat
- spots on your throat
- difficulty swallowing
- trouble breathing
If you have a swollen uvula along with a fever or abdominal pain, talk with your doctor right away. This can be an indication of an underlying medical issue that needs to be treated.
A bifid or bifurcated uvula is a split or cleft uvula. Newborns with cleft palate often also have a split uvula. The bifid uvula results from incomplete fusion of the palatine shelves but it is considered only a slight form of clefting. Bifid uvulas have less muscle in them than a normal uvula, which may cause recurring problems with middle ear infections. While swallowing, the soft palate is pushed backwards, preventing food and drink from entering the nasal cavity. If the soft palate cannot touch the back of the throat while swallowing, food and drink can enter the nasal cavity. Splitting of the uvula occurs infrequently but is the most common form of mouth and nose area cleavage among newborns. Bifid uvula occurs in about 2% of the general population although some populations may have a high incidence, such as Native Americans who have a 10% rate.
Certain environmental and lifestyle factors can lead to reactions that include a swollen uvula. These factors include:
- Allergens: Ingesting or inhaling certain allergens, such as dust, animal dander, pollen, or certain foods, can cause allergic reactions in some people. One of these reactions is swelling in different parts of the body, including the uvula.
- Medication: Certain medications may have side effects that can cause your uvula to swell.
- Dehydration: Lack of enough fluids in your body can lead to uvulitis. Although it’s not common, some people have had a swollen uvula after drinking too much alcohol and becoming dehydrated.
- Chemicals or other substances: Inhaling certain substances that are toxic to your body could lead to many reactions, including a swollen uvula. This includes tobacco, and in one research case, cannabisTrusted Source.
- Snoring: Snoring can be a result of a swollen uvula. In rare cases, it can also be a cause, especially if your snoring causes heavy vibrations that irritate your uvula.
While the mouth is a small part of our overall anatomy, it’s filled with many parts and players, all of which work together to help you eat, drink, speak and have a radiant smile. The key players are incisors, canines, premolars, molars, crowns, gum line, root, enamel, dentin, and pulp.
What Are the Different Types of Teeth
Here’s a quick overview of the different types of teeth in an average mouth:
- Incisors – the sharp, chisel-shaped front teeth (four uppers, four lower) used for cutting food.
- Canines – sometimes called cuspids, these teeth are shaped like points (cusps) and are used for tearing and grasping food.
- Premolars – these teeth have two pointed cusps on their biting surface and are sometimes referred to as bicuspids. The premolars are for crushing and tearing food.
- Molars – used for grinding and chewing food, these teeth have several cusps on the biting surface to help in this process.
Cough is an important protective reflex of the body. But when this protective reflex turns into a persistent cough, a common problem in pediatric practice, it can become an extremely distressing symptom for patients and parents. Infection is one of the most common causes of acute cough, whereas chronic inflammation and mechanical irritation are common causes of chronic cough. In pediatric practice, asthma is a prime example of a persistent cough.
There are some unusual causes of chronic cough, which if not looked for can lead to unnecessary investigations and treatment. We would like to present an unusual cause of chronic cough to illustrate our point.
A 1 year old boy was referred with a history of spasmodic cough since the age of 6 weeks. This distressing cough usually ended in vomiting with variable symptomatic relief. The coughing episodes were mainly observed during the daytime and often precipitated by a semisolid or solid diet. There was no history of cold, temperature, or breathlessness associated with it.
Apart from this distressing symptom, he was asymptomatic and thriving well. His growth was appropriate for his age. He was born by an emergency lower segment cesarean section with a birth weight of 3200 g. His neonatal period was uneventful. He was fully immunized and had not come in contact with whooping cough.
The patient’s father is from Morocco and as a young child, he underwent uvulectomy. This is a common ritual performed for all babies in Morocco. There was no other relevant family history.
What is the function of the uvula?
Function. During swallowing, the soft palate and the uvula move together to close off the nasopharynx and prevent food from entering the nasal cavity. It has also been proposed that the abundant amount of thin saliva produced by the uvula serves to keep the throat well lubricated. It has a function in speech as well.
Why does my uvula swell up?
The most common bacterial infection is strep throat, which could cause the uvula to become irritated and lead to uvulitis. … If you have infected tonsils or tonsillitis, severe inflammation can cause them to push against your uvula. This can cause your uvula to become irritated and swollen.